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Humanities Libertexts

1.2: PREPARING TO READ

  • Page ID
    13850
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    WHY AM I READING THIS?

    You may be thinking to yourself, “Prepare to read? Don’t I just pick the text up and read it?” The answer to this is yes and no. It depends on your purpose for reading.

    Reason for Reading

    Quick Read

    Read carefully in places

    Read carefully, reread for details

    ex: road signs

     

     

     

     

    is short and gives information

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    Activity

    You read all the time, and you have your own reasons for doing so. Work with a partner to brainstorm different ways you read, and tell how that affects the way you read.

    HOW TO READ ACADEMIC TEXTS

    As you may have noticed, different purposes for reading affect the way you choose to read a given text. Academic texts are typically selected as a source of information or to provide a different perspective, depending upon the course they are used for. Often you will be expected to learn from, explain or even use this kind of textual material to support your stance on a topic.

    The kind of passive reading you may do when you read a light novel will not be helpful for you with academic texts. For this kind of learning you will need to useactive reading strategies.

    ACTIVE READING

    Active reading is just what it sounds like – you, the reader, take action when reading this text. This involves reading the text multiple times in different ways.

    Steps to reading actively (GRASP)

    • Get ready (Section 1)

    • Read (Section 2)

    • Associate and respond (Section 3)

    • Scrutinize the subtleties (Section 4)

    • Put it together (Section 5)

     

    GET READY TO READ

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    "Bible" by OpenClipart-Vectors is in the Public Domain, CC0

    Have you ever read something and then realized you don’t remember a word of what you just read? That is because you were passively reading – you were not engaged in the text. The following suggestions will help you to stay engaged in what you read so that you can learn it or use it later.

     

     

    Skim/Scan

    When you read an academic text, it is well worth your time to scan the reading first. Think out loud the first few times you do this. Look for the title, headings/subheadings, bolded words, graphics, and other features of the text that stand out to you. We will practice this in class.

    Mark the text up with a combination of these:

    Mark the text up with a combination of these:

    • Guide Questions – questions about title or headings, may be obvious questions
    • Predications – your predictions about what each section will be about
    • Prior Knowledge – what you already know about the topic, headings, etc.

    Note Bolded or Italicized Words

    Authors often use bold or italicized fonts to indicate important vocabulary. You may want to highlight or write these down.

    Note Graphics

    You’ve heard the phrase, “A picture tells a thousand words.” Graphics – that is photos, images, graphs/charts, etc. – tell a great deal of information in a relatively small space. (We love these!)

    Note other features

    Articles often have information about the author and why s/he is an expert on the topic being addressed.

    Textbooks might include some information at the beginning or ending of the chapter that help you determine what information you should really focus on. Some of them even include a self-quiz at the end of the chapter.

    Activity

    Preread the article provided by your instructor. Mark up the text with your prereading notation.What can you learn from this article simply by prereading?

    Identify:

    1. Topic

    2. Author’sPoint

    3. KeyTerms

    READ ACTIVELY

    Think back to the beginning of this section. Remember, in order to remember what you read you need to interact with the text multiple times. Follow these active reading strategies in order to more effectively recall what you have read.

    • ALWAYS read a text one time completely through without marking anything up. Do this to get a sense of the text.Screen Shot 2019-08-04 at 4.53.38 PM.png
    • Give the text a second read-through, this time with a pen and/or highlighter in hand. Check the Course Resources section for suggestions on how to mark

      a text. In Sections 2, 3, and 4 we will focus upon what kinds of things you should mark.

    • At the very minimum you should respond with comments in the margins. We will practice this in class.

    • Don’t be “The Happy Highlighter.” Keep highlighting down to about 25% of the text. Highlighting should draw your attention to important information. If you highlight too much, it will be difficult to pick out what is important. (Not everything is equally important.

    PUT IT TOGETHER

    Reading and remembering (otherwise known as ‘read and regurgitate”) has limited value. Sure, it can get you through certain tests in certain classes, but who has time to waste on cramming information into your brain, only to spit it out on a test and promptly forget it? Life is too short!

    Taking the time to process the text is a valuable use of your time. Sections 4 and 5 will focus upon strategies that will help you to comprehend and communicate on a deeper level.

    STRONG VS. WEAK SUMMARIES

    A summary should be a condensed (shorter) version of a larger reading. You often see examples of everyday use of summaries when you want to know more about a television show or movie, or when you look over the back cover of a book to see if you want to read it. However, you will also see them used in academic circles – for example when you what to know if you might find a particular journal article useful for a research paper, you will take a look at the abstract.

    Writing a summary can be a very useful learning tool. At first, a summary will take you awhile to write, but with practice you can get pretty efficient with them. I know you probably can’t imagine a reason you would want to write a summary, but actually, the time you spend composing a good summary is well spent – it will help you to learn the material in the text. Summarizing has been found to help students clarify what is important in a reading, become familiar with a variety of structures used to effectively communicate in writing, review essential terminology, and generally make sense of the text. (Marzano)

    Activity

    Work with your assigned partner(s) to compare the traits of some summaries written by previous RD/WR 90 Students. One is labeled “Strong Summary” and two are labeled “Weak Summary.” Then answer the questions that follow.

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    Why do we write summaries? How can they be useful to us as learners?

    Keeping in mind the purpose of a summary, what traits should a summary have in order to make it strong and useful to a learner?

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